The Ooze

The Ooze by R.L. Stine Read Free Book Online

Book: The Ooze by R.L. Stine Read Free Book Online
Authors: R.L. Stine
swarmed down the stairs. I pushed my way into the crowd, taking the stairs two and three at a time.
    â€œHey, use the other stairs!” one of the kids shouted.
    â€œDon’t you know this is the down staircase?” another kid yelled. “What are you, a moron?”
    I didn’t bother to answer.
    I plowed through those kids all the way to the next floor.
    I glanced over my shoulder. Eric stood at the bottom of the stairway, trying to fight his way up.
    â€œI’m coming for you, Sterner!” he shouted.
    I bolted down the hall until I came to another staircase. It was the up staircase, but I ran down it as fast as I could. Before anybody could stop me, I raced straight out of the school.
    I didn’t stop running until I reached home. Mom and Dad were both at work. Michelle was still in school.
    What am I going to do? I thought. What am I going to do? I have to figure out something.
    But I can’t, I realized. I just can’t. I couldn’t even do a simple math problem anymore. How could I figure out what to do about the ooze—a much bigger problem. Much bigger.
    There was no way I could.
    I was just too dumb.
    And getting dumber every second.

11

    â€œA l! Wake up!” Dad called. “It’s Science Bowl day!”
    I didn’t want to wake up. I didn’t want to go to school. And I definitely didn’t want to be in the Science Bowl.
    I rolled onto my stomach and buried my head under my pillow.
    I heard Dad open my door. “Al, get moving. Do you know what time it is?”
    I opened my eyes and stared at the alarm clock. The little hand was on the seven and the big hand was on the two.
    But what did that mean?
    I couldn’t remember how to tell time.
    I sat up, rubbed my eyes, and stared at the clockagain. I still had no idea what it said. How could I forget something I learned back in kindergarten? I was stupider than ever!
    Dad walked over and sat down on the bed next to me. “Better step on it, Al. You need to be sharp if you expect to shine at the Science Bowl this afternoon!”
    â€œBut, Dad, I really don’t feel . . . ” I began.
    But he wasn’t listening. “You need to have a good breakfast. That’s very important. And you need to find a few minutes before the Science Bowl to give yourself a mental pep talk,” Dad instructed.
    â€œMmm-hmm,” I mumbled.
    â€œI know you’ll do great. Just like your sister!” Dad clapped me on the back and left the room.
    I thought I was doing great when I was able to get dressed, brush my teeth, and comb my hair with no mistakes. But I knew it would take a lot more than that to please Dad.
    I shuffled into the kitchen and plopped down in my chair.
    Michelle grinned her horrible grin at me. “Ready for the big day?” she chirped.
    I grunted. What could I say?
    My mom set a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon down in front of me. “Protein is good brain food,” she said.
    I knew I needed a lot more than protein to get through the Science Bowl—without the whole school laughing at me. I needed a miracle.
    â€œLet me quiz you,” Michelle suggested. She picked up my Science Teasers book.
    â€œYou mind if I eat first?” I grumbled.
    â€œI’m trying to help you build up your confidence.” Michelle pouted. “It’s how I won all the Science Bowls I was ever in.”
    Michelle thumbed through the book. “We’ll start with an easy one. Here’s an astronomy question. What was Galileo’s earth-shaking discovery?”
    I had no idea.
    I shoveled a huge forkful of scrambled egg into my mouth, hoping I would come up with an answer before I swallowed.
    I didn’t.
    â€œCome on, Al,” Dad urged. “Just give her the answer.”
    â€œI’m hungry,” I complained. “I don’t want to be quizzed now.”
    â€œI was only trying to help,” Michelle whined.
    Mom ruffled my hair. I hate

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